[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

23859: (discuss) Hyppolite Pierre; Re Haiti as a Proetctorate (fwd)

From: Hyppolite Pierre <hpierre@irsp.org>

There have been lately a couple of well-known American editorialists who,
perhaps out of despair for Haiti, have suggested that Haiti should basically
become a Protectorate. I empathize with their good will as so many others
do. But I respectfully disagree for some very simple and also basic reasons.

The idea came from the fact that Haiti is both a weak and failed state. But
if we consider the suggestion from a historical perspective, we can even
argue successfully that the first American Occupation (1915-1934) was due to
the very fact that Haiti was both a weak and failed state.

Aside from all the exactions, as reported by Roger Gaillard, The Nation
newspaper at the time, and others, the occupiers had nevertheless left us
with a state much better structured than when they came. However, rather
than building on the good deeds (few they were many will say), the
politicians reverted right back to their old habits quickly and efficiently.

Sténio Vincent reinvented the wheels of a repressive machine and tried once
more, successfully at that, to control the military and use it against the
opposition. The US managed to get him out of the way but even before that
could happen, it was under his watch that we had the Trujillo massacre.
Thus, Haiti was already becoming once more at least a weak state.

He was succeeded by one more traditionalist, Elie Lescot who by all account
was even worse than his predecessor. He thus further weakened the state.
Overthrown by popular sentiment and student strikes, he was succeeded after
an election by little known Estimé (the so-called 1946 revolution)

Although Estimé was a decent leader by most accounts, he too was trying to
hold onto power by amending if not simply changing the Constitution in 1949,
just so he could be reelected. So in 1950, he was simply victim of a coup by
Magloire, partly because the traditionalists from the elite could not deal
with his call for the inclusion of Vodou in the debate about the future of
the nation.

We know the rest. By 1957, Duvalier became president and did even worse. He
not only weakened the state but also even to many extent, the spirit of the

Fast-forward to 1994. Aristide is brought back to power thanks to a short
occupation spearheaded by the US. What did he do? He tried to combine good
sense with the old style of governing by relying more and more on "popular
organization". And now he is gone once more, and we have a third occupation
in less than a century.

That shows something even more interesting. There are certain patterns in
Haitian politics that need to be dealt with first. Only Haitians can dig
deep enough and figure it out. They have to assess and reassess their
actions and so forth.

So if for instance, Haiti falls once more under the Protectorate of the UN
or whichever nation or nations, it is almost a guarantee that within not
more than 10 years, the moment the systemic changes had been put in place
and they feel comfortable, the traditional politicians will ask for the
"recovery of our national dignity". In other words, they will want to be
prezidan again. After less than 5 years of that "recovery" of our national
dignity, the cycle will begin again. No doubt about it.

The truth is, the problem is much more simple to resolve, yet much more
complicated as well to resolve. It's a difficult yet easy paradox. But in
fact, in fact, only Haitians can resolve this problem. Only they, can. They
have to figure it out by looking within their collective selves to find
their own sources of strengths and weaknesses in order to do that. Thus far,
I haven't heard anyone debating this more crucial issue. That to me, is the
real problem; not the poverty or the killings and all else. The most
important issue is for Haitians to start thinking about their deeds and
misdeds, the historical faux-pas, the country's inherent characters
(strenghs and flaws) in order to build a modern nation based on modern
governing principles.

I hope I wasn't to long.

Best regards,
Hyppolite Pierre